This is me circa 1979.
Is Avery my doppelganger, or what???
Remember the Little Debbie dress I made for Corinne earlier this month? Well, I’m back with another one, this time for my big girl, Ellery.
I tested this pattern in the 18 month size, but I was really looking forward to sewing one up for my 5 year old! I made a size 6 and I think It’s pretty right on.
I love this little pattern. I really do.
I love how different this version is from Coco’s vintage-y one.
I love that it’s got a sort of Fall-Mod thing going.
But I think what I love most about it, is that it used to be my dress!
A shapeless shift dress that I wore a small handful of times, but has sat in my closet for almost 5 years.
I made a couple of modifications to the pattern: I chose to cut my front piece on the fold to keep the print intact. Also, since this fabric is very thin, I fully lined it, using the original lining from the old dress. That’s not hard to figure out at all, the pattern has a bodice lining already… I just extended it all the way the length of the dress.
Suz is offering up a free copy of the pattern to one of you sweet readers! Just leave me a comment here and I’ll randomly pick a winner next week.
:::Giveaway is open to all and will run until Tuesday at midnight EST.:::
giveaway is now closed! congrats to Michelle
I kind of can’t believe it myself. This upcycle was a major success!
A few simple steps, and I turned a tired maternity shirt into an adorable back-to-school dress for Aves!
Here’s the before:
We headed to Gee and Poppy’s for the photo shoot. But, bear with me, my model was, how-do-you-say, not in the mood.
She said she’d do it if she could wear the Mardi Gras mask.
I know, the mask is really cool, but focus on the dress. How cute is that?! It was so simple that I’m kicking myself for not taking in-progress photos to show you how!
Besides the cute pintucks, its your basic buttondown. You could probably just as easily do this with a men’s shirt. Actually maybe even easier since you wouldn’t have to worry about the bust darts making it wonky.
To make the dress, I cut the sleeves off the shirt and then cut up the side seams, keeping everything else intact. Then, using my Music Box pattern as a guideline, I cut away at the front and back until they were in A-line unison. I borrowed the buttons that came from the sleeves and added them to the placket. You probably could skip that step if just using a men’s shirt. All the raw edges were then encased in the red bias tape. No hemming, word!
We left her grandparents’ house and headed to the park, in hopes of finding a sunnier attitude.
Nope. Not gonna happen. Forget the kid, let’s check out the back.
The material is a lightweight denim. It drapes really well. As evident in this slouch.
Ha ha. Someone needs school to start! (That someone would be me, of course.)
I took my time with the bias tape, sewing it to the wrong side first, and then flipping it over to the right side, and carefully topstitching. It takes more time than just sandwiching your edge and going for it (like I usually do), but its a more reliable finish. I can see Avery getting a lot of wear out of this dress. She actually really likes it.
Wait, is that a smile?
No. We’re done here.
Do you have any items lying around that would be perfect for an upcycle?
I’m so excited to be the second stop on the Debbie’s birthday dress blog tour!
Suz from Sewpony has created this pdf dress pattern inspired by one of her favorite children’s books, Debbie’s Birthday Party. The pattern features a classic A-line style dress, with a button and loop closure at the back. You can see the two views above, one with a sweet peter pan collar, center seam, pocket, and buttons. The other with a separate bodice and trim.
Suz asked if I’d test the 18 month size for my little Corinne, and since I’m a good vintage-loving girl, of course I said YES.
Behold, My Little Debbie!
For my dress (View 2), I repurposed a chambray skirt, used a cute apple grid print for the collar, and lined the bodice with red cotton. I decided forgo the pocket and steal the trim idea from View 1, extending it all the way down the length of the dress- I used ivory lace hem tape.
I stitched two white buttons on to the front, but for the back I decided to tie it all together by using this red apple button. Coco’s big sis thought that was pretty cute. Ellery loves to help pick out Corinne’s clothes in the morning, and this dress is often her first choice.
Smart little stylist wouldn’t you say?
I love the length of the dress- it hits Corinne about an inch above the knee, but you could easily add length if you wanted. On a little gal like Coco though, it’s a good excuse to show off some cute bloomers or her chunky thighs (which I’ve been devouring lately).
I envision her wearing this in the Fall wrapped up with a cozy little cardigan… and of course knee socks and mary janes, like Suz did here- so adorable!
I’d highly recommend this pattern to a beginner sewer who is dabbling into making garments. The pattern is loaded with clear pictures for each step, and a very handy pattern map which really helps the cutting out and taping process. I sewed my Debbie up one rare afternoon while my entire crew was napping, and it was blissful.
I’d say the only thing that took some time for me was the peter pan collar. It was the second one I’d ever done, and I forgot to mark front and back (as suggested!) so when it was time to sew the pieces together I was stumped…but well worth it- I love those apples.
And that face.
I like that you can stay in the vintage realm here but you could totally go another direction with this pattern (like this rainbow one Sanae did here for KCW- gorgeous!)- it’s a simple design that is a great starting point for your own creative interpretation.
Suz is offering a 20% discount on this pattern for the duration of the blog tour. Just visit her etsy shop, Sewpony Vintage to purchase and don’t forget to use the code BLOGTOUR1. And keep your eye out for more vintage-inspired patterns from Suz in the future!
(p.s. check out the Sewpony flickr group for some more Debbie dress eye candy!)
We’re heading to the beach tomorrow for some Summer fun, and I was determined to finish up another KCW project before we left. Since Ellery has gotten a lot more persnickety when it comes to the things I make her, I decided change things up by sewing her a knit dress- I knew she’d appreciate the soft and stretchy fabric since she still doesn’t like to wear my “bumpy” (a.k.a. woven cotton) frocks!.
So here you have it!
The pattern is the tried and true (and free!) Oliver + S Popover Sundress sewn in a 5. I extended the length a few inches, and also cut the pieces wider so I could pleat the front and gather the back so the dress would be flowy. The main fabric is a repurposed blue jersey maxi of mine (I kept the original hem to save a step), yellow knit from Joann for the binding/straps, and pieced woven cotton scraps for the yoke.
This is such a great little pattern- actually, it was the first dress I’d ever sewn!
I’ll end with a few of my favorite popovers.
First, this one (I swear it would be a fave even if it weren’t made by my sis!), this vintage-y top version from True, Pure, Lovely. This one by Kristin- I love love love the fabric she used! And this fabulous zebra face one from Rachel… so great!
Hope you all have a great weekend! I’ll say hello to the Atlantic ocean for you.
We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!
If you are new here, Welcome! We are so happy you’re here.
Last year, we sewed along during Vintage May, using floral sheets from yesteryear- here and here. This year we got our Fraulein Maria on, repurposing bed linens into playclothes for our brood- that’s 6 kids altogether!
Okay, so we were a teensy bit excited for our FIRST GUEST POST! ::sister high-fives all around::
Some of our looks were designed around the unique beauty of vintage bedding, and some just have touches of them, as you’ll see below. Repurposing sheets and pillowcases is great since a lot of the work is already done for you in the form of seams and hems- just make sure to wash them up in some yummy-smelling detergent. You might find the aroma to be uniquely “vintage” as well.
Though our photo shoot reflects some nap-time delirium and lingering (and still lingering…) pink-eye- don’t worry, it ended with a full-on Vintage May/Gangnam-Style dance party!
It only makes sense to start with the oldest… so here’s Jet!
Caroline: Thinking about vintage looks for the boys, I kept coming back to this child actor, who was in some of our other favorite childhood movies (Swiss Family Robinson, Pollyanna, and Toby Tyler). You know him right? He’s the same in all those movies- scrappy, mischevious, and somewhat annoying. But he’s so cute in the hats and knickers and suspenders! So for Jet, I worked up a pair of HG tour pants using a plaid pillowcase for the stripe. I decided to chop the pants below the knee to encourage summertime boyish mayhem. Get it? May-hem? I love a good sewing pun. The suspenders are simply made with 1″ elastic, and upcycled leather + buttons.
Erin: I fell in love with the details and colors of this pillowcase and knew right away that it needed to be a top for Ell. I utilized the entire thing. Normally, I’d leave the existing pillowcase hem for something like this, but I wanted to use the yellow in the flutter straps and the chest band, so I ended up cutting off a good chunk of the bottom. The back closes with a big vintage button and elastic loop. The shorts are E and E’s bubble pocket sailor shorts pattern in yarn-dyed Essex Linen. I love all the buttons! You can get a better glimpse of them up in that first picture.
Caroline: Avery’s look is also reminiscent of Pollyanna. If you need a fix, watch this. I loved her drop-waisted dresses and sailor ties. Avery’s modernized version (say if Pollyanna were to take up tennis) begins with a Flashback tee (minus the sleeves) on top and vintage pillowcase on the bottom. I simply cut the pillowcase in half and pleated it to match the circumference up top. Using the same pillowcase, I made bias tape and stitched it around the collar and arm holes.
ERIN: I love the idea of little boys in vests, but it’s not a look you really see anymore. So, I decided to try one out for Grant using Lindsay’s tutorial modifying it into a racerback… and I love it! I made it with Essex linen (same as Ell’s shorts), and the pockets are cut from the hem of a pillowcase. The inside is a pretty yellow floral sheet (the most masculine one I had). Grant’s pants are based on the Parsley pants pattern, but modified a bit to make them skinnier, and of course shorter. If we had a creek out back, you bet this boy would be wading it.
Erin: For Corinne, I definitely wanted to keep it easy! I love the idea of a one-piece outfit for babies, so I made some bloomers from a sweet pillowcase I had and then attached it to a basic tank onesie- I used 1/4″ elastic to gather the leg holes, and added 3 snaps at the crotch. I thought it’d be fun to add a faux peter pan collar since, they were and are all the rage, aren’t they? I appliqued some shiny gold fabric and added a sweet ivory ribbon rosebud in the center. It’s pretty, but so practical for summer days. (note to self: make more of these.)
Caroline: Wes is wearing faux-suspenders (grosgrain ribbon, d-rings, steam-a-seam) attached to a onesie, along with pillowcase lined pants (based on A.M.H’s Quick Change Trousers). His newsboy cap is from this free online pattern/video tutorial that I found for an adult, and eventually had success with scaling it down for a small head.
Do you remember this part in the Sound of Music?
Captain Von Trapp: “Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old DRAPES?”
Fraulein Maria: ”Mmm-hmmm. And having a MARVELOUS time!”
Thank you all for stopping by! Come back tomorrow for a tutorial on Corinne’s pillowcase romper- it’s an easy one!
So long, farewell….
Erin + Caroline
Suddenly, when Ellery turned about 4 years old, all that precious time I spent sewing into the night was wasted. She stopped liking pretty much anything I made (except for this sundress that she all but slept in last Summer).
i love this photo of her literally ripping off a Pierrot dress 1 second after she tried it on….
Why? Oh, many reasons…. “it’s TOO BUMPY!!!!!” (i.e. made with woven cotton). Or, “it’s just TOO short!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t a ball gown). Or “I look like a BOY IN IT!!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t the color pink). You can see why the dress above wasn’t her fave… hehehe.
So, I found myself buying cheap basic knit dresses from Old Navy and Target. And no offense to those stores (i still do my fair share of shopping there), but if a dress significantly fades after 2 or 3 washes, I’m annoyed. Especially if it cost me over $10.
So, I started making these little dresses by attaching an existing tank top we already had to a thrifted skirt or dress, and she just gushed over them. I’m sure she likes them because they are comfy… which means I can get away with some different colors she wouldn’t normally wear. Actually when she first saw this dress she was concerned because there were 2 shades of brown polka dots on it, but she forgot about it once she pulled it on… Livin’ on the edge, my gal!
Really. I feel like a cheater, but whatever- I’m so much happier spending about 12 minutes of my time whipping one of these up for a few bucks- as long as she’ll wear it.
And wear it she does.
About 3 times a week.
Love my girl!
I would have been finished with this Oliver + S “Music Box Jumper” days ago, but after I sewed the yoke to the skirt, I knew something was missing. Piping! It had to have piping. I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. So I made a date with my seam ripper, instead of my husband. Boo. He understood. And he agreed, it needed piping.
I constructed the yoke out of a white linen skirt that my older sister never wore, and passed on to me. The skirt was pretty see-through, so I never wore it either, but like a good up-cycler, I threw it in my stash and knew I’d at least use the buttons from it. These are those buttons! Avery patiently waited as “almost done…” turned into “frrmmshmerrdurr…” and then ” *bleeping bleeeeep!* ” and then finally…
“Praise the Lord, its finished!” And we LOVE IT! Seriously, I’m pretty obsessed with this dress. Skirt fabric is from Anna Maria Horner’s “Loulouthi” collection, and is called Coreopsis in lime. The Music Box jumper (view B) was an impeccable pattern. I had to buy it after I saw it sewn up at Les Fabriques by the talented Jamie (shout out if you’re reading!). I took it slowly and even made french seams, learning a ton the whole way.
The white linen was tricky to work with, so soft and delicate. It did not appreciate all the seam ripping! But, it feels like buttah, and gives the dress an old-timey vibe. Like out of a Dick and Jane book.
I’m not really sure when I will let her wear this dress. Maybe a certain garden party coming up ;)? I hope I don’t hover nearby with a wash cloth when its time for cake. After all I went through in the construction process, I will probably insist she vacuum seal it in archival tissue paper, and pass it down to her first-born daughter! I told you I was obsessed! Anyhoo, here are some pics of our photo shoot. Avery is very into making me weed bouquets!
Love the dress, LOVE the girl.
I bought this shirt a while back at a thrift store, thinking that it looked big enough to fit me. I just loved that retro squirrel print! Trying it on at home, I soon realized that this shirt came straight from the tween department. It wouldn’t even stretch over my rib cage! That’s alright, I knew I could turn it into something cute for Avery.
Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee was the perfect opportunity to use this fun print and to get some practice sewing with knits. The thrifted shirt only provided enough fabric for the front and back of the tee. So, I had to scavenge for sleeve fabric. I found a purple rayon knit shirt that I’d never worn balled up in my closet. (I couldn’t take it back to the store because my parents’ puppy chewed up the tags, thank you Lenny. ;) ) It was the perfect color for my sleeves, albeit, a difficult one for a novice- so thin and drapey.
Pretty sweet right? With all new sewing projects, you learn a lot. Rae’s pattern is perfection, and she gives so many wonderful hints and options. My excitement got the better of me, and I made a couple of errors.
#1. I did not pre-wash that rayon shirt! My cuffed sleeves shrunk to a 3/4 length! I cut them off, and may decide to turn it into a short sleever later. For now, its cool with a raw hem.
#2. I did not measure my child. She is 3 1/2 , and is always 50th percentile at the doc, so I just went with the standard 3T sizing. I should have taken into account that she “has a pot”(Pulp Fiction anyone?) and used Rae’s instructions for adding length. Oh well, I took out the bottom hem, and left that raw too.
Now we’re in business.
I added the stripe across the front to cover up a seam that existed in the original shirt. The back of the original shirt became the front of this tee. I’m kinda glad it was there because I wouldn’t have thought to add such a cute detail!
Avery loves it! And so do I! I cannot wait to make another Flashback Tee! It is just so satisfying to be able to create something as mundane as a tee-shirt. What kid would object to such comfort? Not mine!
Just popping in to share with you what’s been consuming my evening sewing sessions lately….I’m not sure what inspired these crowns, but once the idea came to me there was no stopping the production!
vintage floral pillowcases + wool felt = soft, sweet, and subtle crowns perfect for Spring.
(side note- no matter how much you wash a vintage sheet, it still smells OLD. or, seasoned as i like to say….)
The above fabric is from the same pillowcase that this dress was made from.
These are going to be for a certain special girl’s 5th birthday party coming up in April. I am making one for each of her little guests. Hence the production line! We’ll be having a little girl’s luncheon in our backyard garden and I’m excited to plan for it- I’m usually not big on birthday hoopla for little kiddos (a ton of work/stress/money- plus all three of my babies have birthdays within a month of each other!) but, now that Ellery is old enough to help me with ideas and planning, it’s actually something I’m looking forward to! Except that every day she tells me EXACTLY what she’d like her cake to look like… different every day of course!
I like that these crowns (which they can wear for the party AND take home…) don’t cost a lot, but are made with a lot of love.
More to come!